Hubert Burda Media


On a trip to the island of the gods, we discover that even without kids – or your significant other – in tow, you can enjoy the pleasures of Conrad Bali.

I SHOULD HAVE KNOWN. Visiting Bali smack in the middle of the holiday season at a family-and couple-friendly resort as a single looking to have some fun – and to chill out for a few days – wasn’t the smartest idea ever. Being surrounded by cute couples cuddling by the pool and going for sunset walks on the beach, or young parents cavorting with their little ones from dawn till dusk, is enough to make you feel like the odd one out.
But when at the end of last year I decided to travel to one of my favourite destinations, Bali, and stay at the Conrad Bali, little did I know that this sprawling five-star resort in Nusa Dua is a haven for families and honeymooners. As my travelling companion and I arrived to be greeted in the airy lobby overlooking the main pool and the beach, the place was buzzing with youngsters glued to their iPads and families trying to arrange afternoon excursions with their brood.
The manicured gardens, meandering pools and restaurants scattered throughout the resort make it a one-stop destination where you could easily spend your entire stay without ever leaving the premises. But because of the vast surrounds, you’ll never feel as if your fellow guests are encroaching on your personal space and can actually enjoy a chilled sojourn steeped in relative privacy.
If you’re lucky to book one of the Conrad Suites, that is. Located near the spa, far from the hubbub of the lobby and the main restaurant, they’re the property’s best-kept secret. For Conrad Bali is actually two resorts in one. The main complex is where parents and their little ones gather for play dates and where ice-cream stands and children’s activities threaten to disrupt the low-key atmosphere you’ve been craving all along, but the area adjacent to the Conrad Suites, accessible only to Suites guests, is a lovely refuge. Featuring a quiet pool surrounded by cabanas that allow for total relaxation, and overlooked by hip Japanese restaurant Rin, where you can indulge in delightful platters of sushi and sashimi without queuing in the company of toddlers and grandmothers exhorting them to eat their veggies, this part of the hotel is a completely different story, more suited to the simple needs of a laid-back and escape-from-it-all break.
At Conrad Bali you get what you would expect from a place of its calibre, without any of the extravagant touches – oftentimes unnecessary – that are typical of luxury hotels in Southeast Asia. Take its fuss-free design: both the rooms and the common areas are contemporary – and more functional – versions of indigenous Balinese architecture, making use of natural materials such as wood and elements such as thatched roofs, while the reflecting pools and gardens give the place a peaceful Zen vibe.
You’re definitely spoilt for choice when it comes to the dining options: Suku, the main restaurant, offers a comprehensive buffet of traditional Southeast Asian cuisines alongside Western staples such as a barbecue station and a salad bar, whereas Rin, the Japanese eatery, and Eight Degrees South, a beachfront Mediterranean spot with great seafood where you can order elegantly prepared dishes and enjoy a drink or two, deliver a more private experience.
As befits a hotel of such scale, the award-winning Jiwa Spa is a mini resort unto itself, featuring 10 treatment rooms, a private pool and indoor and outdoor relaxation areas with plunge pools – all surrounded by lush greenery. With a menu that includes everything from reiki to reflexology, the spa puts a strong focus on its water and aromatherapy treatments, with nods to Indonesian traditions, especially in the invigorating massages.
Offering the best of both worlds – the family-friendly atmosphere of a five-star version of a Club Med on one hand and the sophisticated vibe of Bali at its best on the other – Conrad Bali is like a well-dressed gal who’s not afraid to mix high and low in both her wardrobe and lifestyle. She may not be the most fun girl-about-town, but if you’re looking for one of those hip, coolerthan-thou haunts, Seminyak is just a short drive away.
+Prestige Hong Kong